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Edith Wharton: Designing the Drawing Room

An online exhibition at the Beinecke Library, Yale University.

https://onlineexhibits.library.yale.edu/s/edith-wharton/page/introduction

One century ago, Edith Wharton (1862–1937) published The Age of Innocence, a novel that has become one of her most beloved works. Less known is her first full-length publication, an 1897 interior design treatise titled The Decoration of Houses. Wharton’s keen interest in architecture and the design of interiors and gardens remained with her throughout her career. While she published novels, stories, poems, and nonfiction, she directed the design of her homes, from her country estate The Mount in Lenox, Massachusetts, to her New York City residence on Park Avenue.

Many of Wharton’s ideas about interior design react against the lavish frills and profusion of patterned cloth present in her childhood home, pictured here, at West 25th Street in NYC

Wharton ca. 1920, the year The Age of Innocence was published

Edith Wharton: Designing the Drawing Room brings together both aspects of Wharton’s career. It explores the rules she defined in The Decoration of Houses and their application in her own homes alongside her attention to design details in the handwritten manuscript of The Age of Innocence. These pages reveal Wharton’s deep engagement with the material world during her writing process and in the published novel.

This exhibit focuses on Wharton’s treatment of the drawing room, known to her as a female space during a period of limiting gendered customs. In the world she describes in much of her writing, the drawing room was a specific sort of sitting room to which women would traditionally “withdraw” following dinner. The drawing room was also a space in which women could spend their days and receive guests. As such, drawing rooms provide a particularly rich context for understanding Wharton’s elite New York City society at the turn of the twentieth century and the role of women within it.

https://onlineexhibits.library.yale.edu/s/edith-wharton/page/edith-wharton-welcome

The Decoration of Houses will be published as part of Volume 6: Writings on Architecture, Design, and Gardens,
ed. Francis Morrone
, in The Complete Works of Edith Wharton.

Dr Paul Ohler on ‘Edith Wharton’s Early Short Stories, Thursday 21 January 2021 (12 pm EST/ 5pm UK)

Thursday 21 January 2021 (12 pm EST/ 5pm UK) 

Edith Wharton’s Birthday Talk
Dr Paul Ohler on ‘Edith Wharton’s Early Short Stories’
Thursday 21 January 2021 (12 pm EST/ 5pm UK) 

A Joint Event with the Edith Wharton Society and the Transatlantic Literary Women 

To celebrate the week of Edith Wharton’s birthday, the Edith Wharton Society and the Transatlantic Literary Women are joining forces to hold a special talk with renowned Wharton scholar and editor, Dr Paul Ohler. Everyone’s invited!  

If you’re interested in Edith Wharton, short stories, late nineteenth/early twentieth century literature, publishing history, genre, then trust us: you will NOT want to miss Paul’s talk on Wharton’s often neglected early short stories! Please spread the word. 

In a well-known letter of 1902, Henry James admonished Edith Wharton to take up the “American subject [and] Do New York! The 1st-hand account is precious.” It was somewhat redundant advice, given that she had already published six short stories set in the city. In fact, Wharton had devoted immense energy to the genre for over a decade by the time of James’s letter, publishing her first story in 1891, when “Mrs. Manstey’s View” appeared in Scribner’s Magazine. By 1903 she had published thirty more, most of which remain little read. Focussing on “Mrs. Manstey’s View”, “The Duchess at Prayer”, and “A Cup of Cold Water”, this talk outlines Wharton’s work in the genre during the first phase of her career. Subjects will include the variety of characters and situations in Wharton’s stories, their range of geographical and historical settings, the array of modes—realist, naturalist, historical, dramatic, gothic—Wharton worked in, and the tonal variety of tales that rely on irony, parody, humor, pathos, and terror to achieve their effects. 

Paul Ohler teaches at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, British Columbia. He is the author of Edith Wharton’s Evolutionary Conception: Darwinian Allegory in Her Major Novels (Routledge), and articles and book chapters on Wharton, including an essay in America’s Darwin: Darwinian Theory and U.S. Literary Culture (U of Georgia Press). His current projects include editing Volume 2, Short Stories I: 1891-1903 of The Complete Works of Edith Wharton, which is supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant. His most recent essay, “Creative Process and Literary Form in Edith Wharton’s Archive” appears in The New Edith Wharton Studies edited by Jennifer Haytock and Laura Rattray (CUP 2020). He is editor of the Edith Wharton Review and past president of the Edith Wharton Society.  

If you’d like to join us, please email: transatlantic.women@gmail.com and we’ll send you a secure Zoom link in the week of the event. 

The Collected Works of Edith Wharton welcomes Stephen Arch as the editor of Volume 3: Short Stories II: 1904-1914

The Collected Works of Edith Wharton welcomes Stephen Arch as the editor of Volume 3: Short Stories II: 1904-1914.

Stephen Arch is the author of two books: Authorizing the Past: The Rhetoric of History in Seventeenth-Century New England and After Franklin: The Emergence of Autobiography in Post-Revolutionary America, 1780–1830. His scholarly articles have appeared in Early American Literature, Studies in American Fiction, The William and Mary Quarterly, and elsewhere. In 2015, he published a critical textual edition of James Fenimore Cooper’s 1838 novel, Homeward Bound (New York: AMS Press). He will published a second critical edition of a Cooper novel, Home as Found, in 2021. He serves as Associate Lead Editor of The Writings of James Fenimore Cooper.

Arch’s current research interests include gothic literature, scholarly editing, and the literature of sports. He is co-editing a collection of essays on teaching Cooper’s novels (for the Modern Language Association), and will soon begin editing Edith Wharton’s short stories for the Oxford edition of the complete works of Edith Wharton. He served as Department chair from 2007-2012, and as associate chair from 1998-2003 and in 2006. He was a Fulbright scholar in the Netherlands in 1996.

CWEWh welcomes Francis Morrone as editor of Volume 6, Writings on Architecture, Design, and Gardens

The Complete Works of Edith Wharton welcomes Francis Morrone as editor of Volume 6, Writings on Architecture, Design, and Gardens
FRANCIS MORRONE

Francis Morrone is an architectural historian and the author of eleven books including Guide to New York City Urban Landscapes (W.W. Norton, 2013); The New York Public Library: The Architecture and Decoration of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (with Henry Hope Reed, W.W. Norton, 2011); and  architectural guidebooks to Philadelphia and Brooklyn. As a historic preservation consultant he has written countless building histories and neighborhood surveys in New York and beyond. He worked as an art and architecture critic for the New York Sun. Collectively, his work represents one of the most comprehensive bodies of research on the built history of New York City. He has taught at NYUSPS for nineteen years, and is the recipient of the SPS Excellence in Teaching Award.

https://www.sps.nyu.edu/professional-pathways/faculty/7730-francis-morrone.html

CWEWh welcomes Mischa Renfroe as the editor of Volume 13: The Reef

The Complete Works of Edith Wharton Welcomes Mischa Renfroe as the editor of Volume 13: The Reef

Alicia Mischa Renfroe is professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University where she teaches courses on law and literature and American literature. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee and her J.D. from the University of Florida, and most of her research draws on this interdisciplinary background. Recent publications include “Edith Wharton and Law” in Critical Insights: Edith Wharton in Context, “Edith Wharton Online: Reimagining the Graduate Seminar” in Teaching Edith Wharton’s Major Novels, “Social Protest Fiction” in The Blackwell Companion to American Literature 1820-1914,  and “The Specter and the Spectator: Rebecca Harding Davis’s ‘The Second Life’ and the Naturalist Gothic” in Haunting Realities. She also edited Davis’s novel Law Unto Herself (1878) for the University of Nebraska Press’s Legacies of Nineteenth-Century American Writers series and has published on Louisa May Alcott, Ernest Hemingway, Upton Sinclair, and Jack London. She is site director of Rebecca Harding Davis Collected Works Digital Archive, editor of the Davis Society’s newsletter, co-director of Constance Fenimore Woolson Fest, co-editor of a special issue of Women’s Studies devoted to Davis, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Louisa May Alcott Society. 

Email: mischa.renfroe@mtsu.edu

https://www.mtsu.edu/faculty/alicia-mischa-renfroe

CFP: The Age of Innocence at 100

The Age of Innocence at 100

The Edith Wharton Review invites submissions for a Special Issue celebrating the centenary of The Age of Innocence.

We welcome essays on any aspect of Wharton’s acclaimed novel, from the historical to the queer, from the architectural to the gastronomic. We are especially interested in essays that interpret The Age of Innocence in relation to our contemporary historical moment from the perspective of current critical theories, new reading practices, political climates, and global contexts. One hundred years since its publication, the novel remains relevant, and we seek comparative and cross-disciplinary efforts including engagements with age, temporalities, embodiment and dis/ability.

Deadline: August 31, 2020

Edith Wharton Materials at Princeton Digitized

From Mary Chinery via the wharton-l listserv:

Wharton scholars might be interested in newly available digitized archival materials in Princeton University’s Firestone Library. A significant trove of Wharton letters and other manuscripts and business papers have been posted online. Individual pages can be downloaded as .tiffs or the entire file as a .pdf (which requires less computer space). Happy Reading!

Here’s a link to the results from a general search in Finding Aids site for Edith Wharton. Click online materials on the left.

https://findingaids.princeton.edu/?v1=Edith+Wharton&f1=kw&b1=AND&v2=&f2=kw&b2=AND&v3=&f3=kw&year=before&ed=&ld=&rpp=10&start=0

See you in New York!

Mary Chinery, Georgian Court University

“She was bad . . . always.” Old New York (1924) now Public Domain

290px-FifthAvenueHotel1860_framecrop.jpg“She was bad . . . always. They used to meet at the Fifth Avenue Hotel.”

–Edith Wharton, New Year’s Day, 1924

As of today, January 1, 2020, Wharton’s quartet of novellas Old New York is in the public domain. To celebrate this, here’s New Year’s Day (the Seventies), courtesy of Project Gutenberg Australia.

Here are PG Australia’s texts of the novellas:

The Spark, False Dawn, New Year’s Day, The Old Maid

Links to the other novels and novellas available online are being updated today and are available here: https://edithwhartonsociety.wordpress.com/works/novels-and-novellas/

NEW YEAR'S DAY
(The 'Seventies)

I

"She was BAD...always. They used to meet at the Fifth Avenue 
Hotel," said my mother, as if the scene of the offence added to the 
guilt of the couple whose past she was revealing. Her spectacles 
slanted on her knitting, she dropped the words in a hiss that might 
have singed the snowy baby-blanket which engaged her indefatigable 
fingers. (It was typical of my mother to be always employed in 
benevolent actions while she uttered uncharitable words.)

"THEY USED TO MEET AT THE FIFTH AVENUE HOTEL"; how the precision of 
the phrase characterized my old New York! A generation later, people 
would have said, in reporting an affair such as Lizzie Hazeldean's 
with Henry Prest: "They met in hotels"--and today who but a few 
superannuated spinsters, still feeding on the venom secreted in their 
youth, would take any interest in the tracing of such topographies?

Life has become too telegraphic for curiosity to linger on any given 
point in a sentimental relation; as old Sillerton Jackson, in 
response to my mother, grumbled through his perfect "china set": 
"Fifth Avenue Hotel? They might meet in the middle of Fifth Avenue 
nowadays, for all that anybody cares."

But what a flood of light my mother's tart phrase had suddenly 
focussed on an unremarked incident of my boyhood!

The Fifth Avenue Hotel...Mrs. Hazeldean and Henry Prest...the 
conjunction of these names had arrested her darting talk on a single 
point of my memory, as a search-light, suddenly checked in its 
gyrations, is held motionless while one notes each of the unnaturally 
sharp and lustrous images it picks out.

At the time I was a boy of twelve, at home from school for the 
holidays. My mother's mother, Grandmamma Parrett, still lived in the 
house in West Twenty-third Street which Grandpapa had built in his 
pioneering youth, in days when people shuddered at the perils of 
living north of Union Square--days that Grandmamma and my parents 
looked back to with a joking incredulity as the years passed and the 
new houses advanced steadily Park-ward, outstripping the Thirtieth 
Streets, taking the Reservoir at a bound, and leaving us in what, in 
my school-days, was already a dullish back-water between Aristocracy 
to the south and Money to the north. (continued at the link above)

Brief description of some editing devices

Here’s a brief cross-post about editing devices from the Complete Works of Edith Wharton editors’ site.

Volume Editors have many methods of comparing texts, some of which are text based (relying on typed text) and some of which are image based (relying on photographs or physical volumes). If you have other resources, please feel free to add them here. See also the works in the bibliography for the Editorial Guidelines and the brief guide to editions, printings, and states here: https://www.abaa.org/blog/post/first-state-notes

Different methods, text-based or image-based, will work better depending on what  you’re comparing.

  1. EDITIONS, which will usually be set from different plates and have different typefaces and page numbers (e.g., Scribner’s first edition, Macmillan [British] first edition, and so on), can’t be compared with image-based technology because of the the differences in typefaces and pagination.  What’s on page 31 of the Scribner’s first edition of The House of Mirth will not be similar enough to what’s on page 31 of the Macmillan edition to make a comparison of individual words and letters possible, for the words will not be on the same lines. EDITIONS will need to be typed so that the text can be compared using Juxta or another text-based method.

2. PRINTINGS, which will be printed from the same plate as the first edition with the same typeface and page numbers, will differ little in appearance. The same material will be found on p. 3 of the Scribner’s edition, first printing and the Scribner’s edition, 5th printing, and the words will appear on the same line. PRINTINGS can be compared using image-based comparison methods like the Hinman or other image-based technologies. 

The image on the left is from page 31 of the first Scribner’s edition of The House of Mirth; the second image is from page 31 of the Macmillan (British) first edition.

Text-based comparisons

Text-based comparisons let you look at the differences between two typed documents. Most of us are already used to doing this in Word, but Juxta Commons is useful for more complex comparisons.

Text-based methods are useful when you are comparing different EDITIONS of a book.

Juxta Commons. http://juxtacommons.org/  This easy-to-use and free software can compare two screens of text at once and can identify the differences by highlighting them. Juxta looks like this: juxta

To get typed text to compare, you might try these:

    1. Typing the volume into a text editor (like Notepad or Text Wrangler) or into Word.
    2. Using a typed version or the raw OCR (Optical Character Recognition) version found online that you proofread carefully against the copy-text volume (usually the first American edition). When raw OCR text comes out of the scanner, you’ll see that it is kind of a mess. There are odd characters, like ! instead of 1, m instead of rr, and even worse. You can see a little of this if you try to convert a .pdf document back into text using Google Docs.  Whenever scanned text is used, it has to be carefully proofread.You may see references to “cleaning” the raw OCR text. “Cleaning” is just a term from data processing; it means to correct the data (in this case the text) according to the scanned material so that it makes sense.
      1. Adobe Acrobat Pro can turn .pdf files into  text, but the text it creates must be carefully proofread.
      2. Google Docs is supposed to be able to turn .pdf files into text, but the text it creates must be carefully proofread.
    3. Scanning the copy-text volume with a specialty software such as ABBYY Finereader https://www.abbyy.com/en-us/finereader/ This text must also be carefully proofread but is supposed to have fewer errors than other scanning to OCR (Optical Character Recognition) kinds of programs.

Image-based comparisons

If you have taken pictures of several printings of the volume you’ll be editing, image-based or digital comparison software will be helpful.

  1. Traherne Digital Collator, a free comparison and collation software. The Traherne Digital Collator compares two page images so that you can see differences between, say, the first and second printing of a volume.

The download links can be found here: https://oxfordtraherne.org/traherne-digital-collator/ and http://www.robots.ox.ac.uk/~vgg/software/traherne/. These methods work for different printings or states of the same edition but not for different editions that have different fonts.

In the screenshots below, the top image compares the first edition of The House of Mirth, from a copy in the Lilly Library, with a copy of the first edition in the Beinecke Library. Note the broken character on the running title (HOUSE), which is illuminated by a red color instead of purple in the second image.

traherne1

traherne2

2. Pocket Hinman. The Pocket Hinman is a free experimental app developed for James Ascher and DeVan Ard. It’s available for iPhone and Android through the App store and here: https://rossharding.me/#/pockethinman/

The Pocket Hinman allows you to compare visually a volume that you’re looking at with a previous picture of a volume. Differences will stand out by flickering slightly.

Mechanical Comparators and Collators

If you live near a research library or are visiting one, you can use these older devices to compare physical volumes of the text: the two major kinds are the Hinman Collator and the Lindstrand Comparator.

Hinman Collator. Developed by Charlton Hinman from WWII bomb target technologies that compared two images and found slight differences by flickering images and used in creating comparative versions of the First Folio, the Hinman Collator can find small differences that indicate changes from one printing to the next.

Here’s article from the Folger Library that describes the Hinman in more detail:

https://collation.folger.edu/2018/05/hinman-redux/

Here’s a demonstration of the Hinman Collator in action, with text by James P. Ascher, who developed the Pocket Hinman:

The following article from 2002 that gives all the then-locations of Hinman Collators, Lindstrand Comparators, and other mechanical editing devices. Each of the major Edith Wharton archives has a Hinman or Lindstrand machine available.

“Armadillos of Invention”: A Census of Mechanical Collators

Author(s): Steven Escar Smith Source: Studies in Bibliography, Vol. 55 (2002), pp. 133-170 Published by: Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia

Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/40372237